An unwelcoming gentleman’s club | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 26, 2020

An unwelcoming gentleman’s club

As they say, cricket is a gentleman's game and, perhaps by that virtue, it is also an expensive sport when it comes to buying modern-day equipment.

Not only is equipment expensive, it is also hard to get quality products in Bangladesh as there are no manufacturers in the country that produce top quality products.

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However, there are a few distributors for various cricketing good manufacturers such as SS, SG, CA and DSC in India and Pakistan such, which have a huge demand among cricketers in Bangladesh.

But despite the huge demand there is only a single authorised distributor for each brand in Bangladesh which, along with heavy import duties, is the reason prices of products are comparatively higher.

There are few local importers who buy products directly from India, Pakistan, England, Australia and the United States and sell those in local markets at a relatively lower price.

Among cricket lovers, there is a huge curiosity to know the prices of bats used by stars like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim and one be surprised when they get to know the price tag for their equipment.

Tamim is sponsored by Pakistani brand CA and each bat that the left-hander uses costs between Tk 40,000 to 60,000 and at times even more. Luckily, being the superstart that he is, Tamim get sponsored by the company and gets all the equipment from CA round the year and also gets a healthy sponsorship money.

Manufactures generally sponsor national team cricketers along with a few aspiring players and they can be seen using stickers of specific brands on their bat, pads, gloves and even in the helmet.

There are generally two types of contracts that companies use to associate with cricketers. One is an annual contract and the other is on a match-by-match basis.

Established top cricketers are the ones who are being contracted annually and they not get the gears from the company but also a good amount of money for endorsing products.

Suppose a top Bangladeshi player like Tamim or Mushfiqur has an annual contract from which they receive around 60,000 to 80,000 US dollars per year.

On the other hand, mid-level national cricketers like Soumya Sarkar or Liton Das receive equipment, but the quality of the products vary from the ones given to a Shakib. They also receive 500 to 1000 US dollars per match. While newcomers and their agents at times get desperate to land endorsement, those range from 100 to 150 US dollars per match.

Going back to the high price of the cricketing goods, although many national cricketers do not need to spend their money, the scenario is different for first-class and domestic cricketers of Bangladesh. A top-quality bat from SS, SG, CA or DSC, which first-class or top domestic cricketers prefer, costs around Tk 20,000 to 30,000 each and can be higher depending on quality.

A pair of a pro-quality pads used by first-class and top domestic cricketers' costs around Tk 4000 to 5000, a pair of batting gloves range from Tk 3000 to 4500 and a top-quality helmet costs around 15,000 to 20,000 depending on the brand and quality.

A thigh pad will cost around 2500 and a top-quality carbon abdominal guard can take around Tk 2500.

For bowlers, a pair of top-quality Adidas or Nike brand bowling boot range from Tk 12000 to 15000 while boots for batsmen and fielders can cost between Tk 6000 to 10,000.

If you are wondering if a cricket ball might be less expensive compared to batting equipment, then you have a surprise. A top-quality Kookaburra match ball, mainly manufactured in Australia, costs around Tk 9000 to 11,000 each while a practice ball from the same brand costs around Tk 6500 to 7500.

However, there are a few Indian ball manufacturers such as SG or SS that would cost a bit less, around Tk 700 to 900, but those are not the ones that are used in first-class or Premier League matches.

National discard Shamsur Rahman, who used to have sponsors during his stint in the Bangladesh team now has to pay for his equipment as he remains a prominent name in the domestic circuit.

"Cricket equipment is not cheap. Each bat could cost you around twenty thousand taka and as a batsman you need to have at least four bats. You never know when the bat gets broken and generally a bat does not last for more than two years. There are other goods such as pads, gloves and boots which we need to have in stock. Many may think that cricketers earn a lot but the fact is that we also need to invest heavily on our equipment from the main source of our income," Shamsur told The Daily Star.

While professional cricket equipment remains expensive, things are not that cheap for beginners or lower level cricketers either. 

A complete set of gear including a bat for kids and age-level cricketers could cost around Tk 12,000 to 15000. For mid-level players in the second division or third division, equipment ranges from Tk 15,000 to 20,000.

There are a few shops in the capital from which you could buy cricketing goods and the sports market in Gulistan remains one of the biggest and most popular places to buy equipment for amateurs and professionals.

According to Rahat Hasan, owner of Good Buy Inc, a retailer of cricketing goods, informed that the lack of expert labour and shortage of raw materials is the main reason Bangladesh does not have manufacturers.

"It's a huge market and we are getting a good response from professional cricketers and beginners. There are no manufacturers of top-quality cricketing goods in Bangladesh. We have to rely on importing from India, Pakistan, England and Australia. Expert labour and raw materials are not easily available in Bangladesh which is the main reason we have to rely on importing," said Rahat.

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